You may have made it through the elementary and high school years, but watching your child go off to college is uncharterd territory. You have to walk the fine line between providing support without being too prescriptive, giving guidance without being bossy and giving your child what they need to succeed while maintaining your relationship.
College is the biggest challenge your child will face in their academic careers. They have to be independent learners in a setting that is often not conducive to studying. A study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, showed that only 46% of US students complete their college degrees. That means your student really does need your help and support to make a success of their college years and beyond.
Work on Communication
If you have trouble expressing yourselves, then you need to work on that stat! When your child is away at college, they will have less time to talk and a packed academic and social calendar will leave little room for you. So make sure you can talk about everything and communicate effectively in the time that you have. Keeping the lines of communication open will mean that you have a better chance of being there to help with the difficulties of adjusting to college life.
Resist the urge to instruct, reprimand and control. Instead, reserve your judgments for those times when they are absolutely necessary and offer support instead. Being a strong source of encouragement and support will create a positive atmosphere where your child is more likely to open up and seek help should they need it.
Don’t change their Room
Dreams of an exercise room or a man-cave will have to go on the back burner for a while. Having a sanctuary for your student to come home to, a place that is familiar and safe may be just what the doctor ordered. Your child is undergoing a major life change and may need the reassurance that their place in your home and in your family is still there.
You know them Best
Of course your child is going to go through a major change as they adjust to college life. But you know your child best and when your instincts say they need help, trust them. Work on distinguishing their day-to-day complaining from actual emergencies and while you should offer support, let them sort out those problems you know they can handle. This shows that you trust them and have confidence in their abilities. But should you feel like your child is really in need, ask them how you can help.
Be Patient with Grades
Expect a change in grades as your child adjusts to their new surroundings and overwhelming workload. While you can expect an initial slump, be sure to watch that it doesn’t affect their confidence. If their grades don’t improve after the first couple of assignments, get a one-on-one tutor to help them get back on track before it’s too late.